The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has a lot of exciting announcements coming up. This Saturday PAFA will present the first major mid-career retrospective of contemporary artist Rina Banerjee, Make Me a Summary of the World, co-organized with the San Jose Museum of Art in California. Not only will this new exhibit be premiering, but you may even catch a slew of high school students trained by PAFA as professional tour guides taking their classmates on an artistic journey through the museum.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has exciting new additions
The Rina Banerjee exhibit Make Me a Summary of the World will be on view to the public from October 27, 2018, through March 31, 2019, in the galleries at PAFA. It will be accompanied by extensive programming and a full-color, 160-page catalogue co-published with PAFA and SJMA. The exhibition will then open at SJMA from May 18, 2019 – October 6, 2019, before embarking on a national tour.
The exhibit is one you will not want to miss. Known for her large-scale sculptures and installations made from materials sourced throughout the world, Banerjee’s works investigate the splintered experiences of identity, tradition, and culture, prevalent in diasporic communities. Make Me a Summary of the World will transform the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts into an otherworldly and multi-sensory space. A fun addition to the exhibit is a giant hot pink, floating Taj Mahal made of plastic wrap now installed in the Galleries.
“The upcoming exhibition on the work of Rina Banerjee is an ambitious project for PAFA and its museum,” said Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum in a press release. “It’s also a necessary project for the first art museum in the country, because Banerjee continually and aggressively examines what it means to be an American artist. Through the lens of gender, race, class, and from the point of view of being from somewhere else, Rina voices through color, form, texture, scale, and found objects conversations about democracy and equality.”
Along with the exciting additions to the museum the training of high school student docents is what makes the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts truly special. They have the only program in the area that trains students to become professional tour guides, giving them public speaking abilities, confidence and overall knowledge.
PAFA’s Student Docent Program is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and select schools in which 7th – 12th-grade students are trained to become tour guides for their classmates during a museum visit. The initiative invites students from across Philadelphia to become leaders and art critics, as well as inspiring confidence in young people. Over the course of several weeks, Student Docents hone their observation, critical thinking, leadership, and presentation skills while learning inquiry-based tour strategies.
Veronica Coccagna, 15, a 10th grader at Virtual Academy, said she was excited to participate in the Student Docent Program because “I love talking about art and hearing others’ opinions on art,” she said. “I’m excited to see all of the art in the museum. I’m a little nervous to give a tour because I have stage fright but this program has improved my public speaking skills.”
Alicia Caban, 16, a junior at Virtual Academy, said she has been involved with art for her whole life and came to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to learn more about “the history of art and how to discuss it with others.” “I’ve learned the questions to ask people about art and the body language I should use when talking to them. I’m excited to give a tour to my friends.”